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The Tidelands Health Newsroom

Published on September 28, 2016

Tidelands Health culinary team cooks up a win in statewide competition 

September 28, 2016 

Haute, it was a win to be savored for Tidelands Health’s culinary team, which took top honors at the South Carolina Hospital Association’s Cooking Well Invitational Sunday, Sept. 25, in Charleston.

The health system’s four chefs faced off against seven South Carolina hospital teams that have achieved Gold Apple status for healthy nutrition initiatives. Led by Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital food operations manager Tom DelSolia, the team prepared a meal of goat cheese and herb pancake with roasted beet salad, squid ink pasta with roasted butternut squash and kale and kefir panna cotta with balsamic fennel.

“I’m so proud of our team and our first-place win,” DelSolia said. “Our team members are amazing, and thanks to their skills and talents, we’re the only hospital that has placed every year since the competition began four years ago.”

Tidelands Health placed third in 2015, second in 2014 and third in 2013.    

Charleston area chefs Eric Huff, Kayla Hanks and Daven Coad judged the dishes, which were required to meet certain nutritional standards for fats and sodium and could not cost more than $5 to prepare.

DelSolia, who started working on a menu in April, said he chose the dishes after brainstorming and studying trends in food.

“I try to put together a menu that’s a little bit different and off the grid,” he said. “This year, we made our own pasta and used squid ink to give it color so it would show off the calamari and show up on the plate.”

Crystal Cates, clinical nutrition manager at Tidelands Health, said the award shows hospital food doesn’t have to be bland to be healthy.

Crystal Cates, Tidelands Health clinical nutrition manager, said the award shows hospital food doesn’t have to be bland to be healthy. “Using the Mindful by Sodexo recipes, our culinary team prepares some amazing dishes every day that are healthy, tasty and creative,” Cates said.   

 DelSolia said he’ll start working on next year’s menu after the first of the year. Meanwhile, he’ll be savoring the award with team members Brian Eubanks, food operations manager for Tidelands Georgetown Memorial Hospital; lead chef Derrick Grove and chef Theo Nelson.

The annual Cooking Well Invitational, sponsored by the SCHA and Working Well, is open to hospital teams that have earned the Gold Apple Award for providing and promoting healthy, affordable and delicious food and beverage options that represent the highest standards of nutrition excellence in the workplace.

Working Well, funded by The Duke Endowment and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and managed by SCHA, is a statewide strategy to establish a culture of wellness in the workplace.


Tidelands Health is the region’s largest health care provider and MUSC Health affiliate, serving the Carolinas at four hospitals and more than 70 outpatient locations. More than 2,500 employee, physician and volunteer partners work side by side with our communities to transform the health of our region – promoting wellness, preventing illness, encouraging recovery and restoring health.